Estimating Power Washing Jobs: 5 Crucial Steps to Success

how to estimate power washing jobs

Power washing jobs are not very easy to estimate. You must consider the factors affecting the rates, such as the weather changes, the demand for work, etc. Power washers should be aware of the average prices for their services in a highly competitive area. 

This article shares the five easy steps for estimating power washing jobs more easily and simply.

The topics to cover are:

  1. Measure the Space
  2. Decide on a Pricing Strategy
  3. Price Based on the Project
  4. Estimate Material and Overhead Costs
  5. Calculate the Total

1. Measure the Space

According to the power washing business, the area to be washed is usually measured in square footage or linear footage. You must visit the site that needs the service to estimate the space and the condition of a place accurately. It will help you know what exactly your client wants from you.

The two methods for measuring the space are:

Square Footage:

Estimation of projects based on square footage includes roofs, driveways, sidewalks, fences, decks, siding, commercial cleaning, parking lots, and garage floors. You need to find the length and width of the area to determine the square footage of the area. Use a laser distance measurer to have accurate results. To find the square footage, multiply the length by the width and then multiply the obtained number by 1.35 to find the approximate square footage value.

Linear Footage:

Estimation of projects based on linear footage includes houses and boats. For measuring the linear footage, you only need to measure the length of the structure. Linear footage is usually charged at a higher rate than square footage.

2. Decide on a Pricing Strategy

There are three pricing strategies that power washers usually use for estimating residential jobs, these are:

  • Per square foot or linear foot
  • Per hour
  • Flat rate

Square or linear footage-based pricing will help you bid on different sizes and shapes of lots or structures. On the other hand, the per-hourly pricing system will help you charge on an hourly basis. Whereas flat rate pricing helps you earn more if you are a professional power washer. 

3. Price Based on the Project

There is a difference in rates depending on the service you are providing. Here is a list of some standard rates based on national averages to help you estimate your power washing job:


$90 – $275 flat rate for exterior

$0.75 – $1.25 per linear foot (single-story house)

$1.75 – $2.25 per linear foot (two-story house)


$100: single story

$135: two floors

$200: three floors


$5 per linear foot: bottom only

$10 per linear foot: whole boat


$0.20 cents per square foot

Double or triple the fee for roofs with steep pitches

Driveways and Sidewalks

$60 – $150 flat price (depends on size)

$0.08 – $0.14 per square foot

Fences, Decks, and Siding

$0.20 – $0.25 per square foot

Mobile Homes

$50 – $85 flat rate for a mobile home (depends on condition)

$80 – $100 flat rate for a double-wide (depends on condition)

Commercial Cleaning

$0.08 -$0.12 cents per square foot for basic surface cleaning

$75 for a standard dumpster and $150 for large

Parking Lots, Garages, and Drive-Thrus

$0.05 – $0.25 per square foot for parking lots and garage floors (depends on condition)

$10 – $20 per parking space

4. Estimate Materials and Overhead Costs

The material used as an additional cost includes chemicals for jobs on roofs, fences, decks, and siding. Prices also depend on the type of water you are using (hot or cold) for cleaning. Overhead costs are not directly linked with your work but affect the overall budget.

Some of the costs when you are working on per hourly basis are:

  • Vehicle loan: $400 or $3.33 per hour
  • Car insurance: $125 or $1.04 per hour
  • Cleaning supplies: $400 or $3.33 per hour
  • Phone and internet: $150 or $1.25 per hour
  • Gasoline: $500 per month or $4.17 per hour
  • Advertising: $600 or $5.00 an hour
  • Equipment maintenance and fuel: $10 per hour
  • Office rent: $900 a month, $9 per hour (optional)

Overhead costs are almost $40 per hour alone. You also need to account for your own salary (let’s say $29/hour at $60,000 a year) and money to put back into the company ($20,000 or $9.50 an hour). This increases your rate to $78.50 an hour. Since you’re only getting paid for 30 hours of work and you typically spend at least 10 more hours on administrative tasks, you need to account for these 10 unpaid hours in your hourly fee. Rounding $78.50 up to $80, you should be earning $3,200 a week for a 40-hour workweek. You need to earn $800 more. Divide $800 by the 30 hours you’re working, and you’ll find you need to charge $26.66 more or $106 per hour total.

5. Calculate the Total

Once you have your square or linear footage, you can calculate the cost based on standard rates for the job, including the materials and overhead costs. You can also use one of the standard flat rates listed above. 

The other strategy is: (Cost of Materials x 2) + Cold or Hot Water Cleaning Costs = Project Estimate Cold water cleaning should cost $45 to $50, and hot water cleaning should cost $55 to $60.

For example, if the cost of materials is $300, double it to get $600. Let’s say you’re using hot water cleaning.

$600 + $60 = $660 project estimate

People also ask:

How Do You Price a Power Washing Job?

Home Advisor says power washing usually costs between $183 to $380 in the U.S., with the national average being $281. Power washing houses usually cost between $220 to $380, a driveway costs $130 to $220, and a deck or patio costs $250 to $420. 

The price depends on the type of chemical that is being used for cleaning along with the size and area of the surface. There are three pricing methods for power washing jobs, that are:

  • The square footage method 
  • Per hour method 
  • A flat rate

How Much Does It Cost to Pressure Wash per Square Foot?

Pressure washing usually costs between $0.08 and $0.35 per square foot. The figure may vary from area to area. A pressure washer may charge $0.40 to $0.80 per square foot if the surface or area is too dirty to clean or it will take a long time to clean. 

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